Research Institutes - MERLN
Research institutes

Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine

The MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine strives to maintain a leading position in the field of biomedical engineering by combining creative research with training a generation of interdisciplinary scientists. MERLN’s activities operate at the interface of biology, engineering and medicine to maximise impact at the level of public involvement and the commercialisation of research. MERLN’s vision is based on sharing knowledge, infrastructure, and ambition.

A Brightlands institute

Brightlands logo

Brightlands is an open innovation community in a global context, connecting four campuses in the province of Limburg: in Maastricht, Heerlen, Sittard-Geleen and Venlo. The campuses provide entrepreneurs, scientists and students state-of-the-art facilities to support development, education, innovation and growth. Naturally, there are close links between all four Brightlands campuses, and together they enable Limburg to serve as an innovation region where researchers and entrepreneurs take on the major challenges in the areas of materials, health, food and smart services.

Scientific breakthrough: Forming model embryos from stem cells in the lab

New research to unravel embryonic development and discover medicines

Scientists from the MERLN Institute and the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) have successfully created in the laboratory embryo-like structures from mouse stem cells. These model embryos resemble natural ones to the extent that, for the first time, they implant into the uterus and initiate pregnancy. This radically new method opens the door to understanding the first and hidden processes of life, problems of infertility, or the embryonic origin of diseases. This scientific breakthrough has been published in Nature. >> read the complete news article.

Stem cell


Research at MERLN is focused on developing and employing breakthrough technologies to advance the repair and regeneration of both tissues and organs. The strategy includes, amongst others, the development of “smart” biomaterials that can trigger intrinsic tissue repair mechanisms mediated by the patient’s own cells.


MERLN’s scientists are involved in educational activities within different undergraduate and graduate programmes as well as in the supervision of students performing research projects. They use their expertise in biology, chemistry, materials science and engineering, with distinct emphasis on biomedical applications, including regenerative medicine.

  • Berta Cillero Pastor is an Associate Professor and group leader at the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine. Her research is centred around mass spectrometry (imaging) to gain insights into molecules in cells and tissues for biomedical research. With this technique, changes...

  • A new type of biomaterial for bone cancer patients. Based on nanoparticles and polymers the composite material will kill remaining cancer cells and instruct the body to regrow surgically removed bone. MERLN’s Sabine van Rijt has won the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant for her Nano4Bone research...

  • lorenzo morini

    Captain Space-Heart

    MERLN’s Lorenzo Moroni coordinates a European consortium that develops a technology to create heart ventricles in space using magnetic and acoustic levitation. The subsequent research on the International Space Station will have significant benefits for the humble inhabitants of Earth.

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MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine

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